Update 7th January 2007: See this thread at iidb for more info since I wrote the following.
Far from being a shock new find that erupted onto the world around Easter 2006 by the grace of National Geographic, the existence of the Gospel of Judas manuscript has been known to scholars since the early 1980’s. Before tracing in detail the history of this manuscript along with the interplay of shady peddlings and academic egos that have long kept it from general scholarly scrutiny till now, Robinson discusses the attitudes towards Judas found in the various early Christian writings down to popular understandings today. He points out how the original Christian textual treatment of the other apostles and family of Jesus was strongly negative but that they all eventually found a way to be rehabilitated. Robinson then posits that the ethics of the biblical account of the character of Judas are wanting by normal humane standards today, and that it is time that Judas likewise be finally rehabilitated. The discussion of the text follows. Robinson’s own experience with such manuscripts and personal knowledge of the key players involved in its recent transmission enables him to offer a serious critique of the history and current treatment of this manuscript. He concludes his book with an optimistic breathe that now the National Geographic has made its profitable publicity splash at the Easter season this year, the popular hype can start to fade sufficiently for real scholarly work of reconstruction and translation and analysis, which takes time and scholarly openness, can begin, just as it eventually did likewise with the Nag Hammadi and Dead Sea Scrolls collections.